Thu
8Dec
UTC
6:00pm
Online

What does music do to the brain?

Dr Diana Omigie

Cognitive neuroscience is pushing boundaries and is now able to pinpoint specific signatures of the brain, differentiating between nuanced emotions like how we experience awe and beauty - vastly complex feelings that, until now, have been out of reach.

Learn about this Garden Talk

Music is a complex stimulus that is a critical tool in the field of cognitive neuroscience. Using direct observations and imaging techniques like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), it allows us to ask specific questions about brain activity, such as how our grey matter behaves when music-listening, -performing, -composing, -reading and -writing. 

But scientists have been upping the ante on what we can learn by observing the brain “on music”. Historically, focus has been aimed at studying patterns created by our base emotions, like “happy” vs “sad” or, the level of arousal we might feel; universal emotions we share with other animals. Now, this field of research is focussing on aesthetic emotions that are not utilitarian - emotions that do not help us to survive, for instance, or to procreate. 

By collecting rich information from measurable areas of the brain, scientists can better understand how cognition can become emotion, answering tough questions like what does “awe” look like, or “transcendence,’ or how does our brain appear when we are experiencing “beauty”?

Dr Diana Omigie is a music and arts-loving lecturer and course leader at Goldsmiths University, London. In her Garden Talk, she reveals how cognitive neuroscience is pushing frontiers when it comes to examining specific signatures of the brain and is now able to differentiate between nuanced emotions like love and tenderness. Such vastly complex feelings that, until now, have been out of reach.

Talk outline

Duration

50 minutes

What to expect

50 minute talk

20 minute Member Q&A

Dr Diana Omigie

Dr Diana Omigie holds a lectureship in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, which is also where she runs the Msc course Music, Mind and Brain.

Music, Mind & Body Collection

Why does music have such an enormous impact on our minds and bodies? From its effect on our memories, to the science behind our favourite earworms and most heartfelt break-up songs, this series examines how music moves and changes us in unexpected ways.

Online live interactive talks with experts

Come learn from the best in their fields, and ask them your questions

Find an upcoming live talk

High-quality recorded talks on-demand

Watch recordings of 100+ past talks at your own pace

Browse on-demand talks

The Garden is a community for the curious, a place where inquisitive minds can come together to learn from world experts, and each other, and join in conversations about topics that spark their curiosity.

Find out more

With our monthly membership we aim to give anyone, anywhere, access to the knowledge, ideas and people who have shaped — and continue to shape — our understanding of the world.

Start free trial